Thursday, November 15, 2012

Unlock Growth

In New York City this past summer we spent a morning at Hell's Kitchen Flea Market. One of the vendors had a lot of metal pieces including old, rusty keys and this amazing, antique doorplate.   

UNLOCK GROWTH   framed mixed media 16" x 12" $350. available at Willowtreee, Claresholm

In September, at Judy's studio, while my mixed media guru Win Dinn was visiting, I made the piece below. It became the inspiration for Unlock Growth, although, at the time I didn't know it. That's the magic of mixed media, you have no idea how anything will evolve. With acrylics I painted a piece of mat board in gradated greens and using a commercial rubber stamp, with an overall pine needle design, created the underlying patterns. The other gals were running outdoors to grab fresh leaves to use as stamps in acrylic paints, so I followed suit. The irregular, organic patterns of the leaves are delightful. The doorplate looked so well against these colours but it was simply too big for this small piece.

UNLOCK GROWTH study  9.5" x 7.5

The background painting of the larger Unlock Growth flowed effortlessly from the end of my brush. (Oh, why can't all paintings come this way?) With my mind in some imaginary forest, I picked up a fine-tipped rubber pen tool and scraped a steam of semiconscious words into the wet paint on the bottom third of the panel. I don't remember exactly what I wrote. Additional paint layers, the dried leaves and the doorplate obscure parts of the passage so that now only certain words are discernible. I'm all right with that. 

UNLOCK GROWTH before the tendril 

At the stage above I realised I had done exactly what I preach against; floating, unrelated elements! The key and the doorplate needed to be linked. A tendril was suggested, but how to do that? Wondering about piping heavy acrylic medium (using my cake decorating toys) I went to the guru. She answered "Yes. And you can colour the medium first. But, lay a piece of acetate over the painting and pipe the tendril onto it" Good advice, because I was clumsy with the infrequently used implement and wiped off tendril after tendril until one finally satisfied me. Over 24 hours later, when it was dry enough, I affixed it to the work. I am terribly fond of this painting, sigh.


  1. And you should be fond of this one, Alice - it is truly a stunner. I love the ambiguity of the 'almost seen, thoroughly understood' verbal undergrowth, and your adventure with the piping turned out just beautifully.

    The entire piece speaks to the organic nature of our spiritual quest - soft, rich with layer upon layer, and the final 'aha' moment provided by that perfect doorplate and key.

    Well done.

    1. "Almost seen, thoroughly understood", what a lovely way to put it!
      You have unlocked something very vital in me Win Dinn. Thank you.

  2. Alice, "Unlock Growth" is stunning!